Clark bursts out of the ruck



23 Dec 2010

23 December 2010

 

Clark bursts out of the ruck

 

The performance of the recent Australian All Schools Championships was undoubtly the series of 100m runs by Bella Vista’s Josh Clarke. Breaking Australian records is rare, but Clarke, lowered the Australian under-16 100m twice within 90 minutes, first clocking 10.74s and then 10.72s.

The previous record had stood since 1998, held by Queenslander David Pearson who clocked 10.80. 

Clarke’s lead-up form had been impressive. In September at the GPS Athletics Championships the King’s School Year 9 student grabbed the U17 title in 11.17s.

A month later at the NSW All Schools Championships, he clocked his first sub-11second time when he ran 10.99 in the U16 heats. In a very exciting and closely fought final, he was just beaten by Joshua Jay (Bankstown) as they clocked times of 11.03 and 11.07.

In late October Clarke clocked a quick 7.09 for 60m, followed by a wind assisted 10.79 (3.4m/s) 100m in November.

Clark really arrived at national All Schools.

In his heat, he clocked 10.74 (wind 1.3m/s), well ahead of his completion with the second fastest qualifier recording 11.24.

``Going into the heat, I was quietly confident I would progress to the final but I never expected to go that fast,’’ Clarke said.

``I knew the times would be quick due to the favourable sprinting conditions and I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. Going into the final, I was a bit more relaxed as I had already posted a fast time.’’

In the final Clarke comfortably beat Queenslander Matt Scott and his NSW rival Joshua Jay.

``After the race, I was very excited with my result and time,’’ Clarke said.

`I wasn’t really thinking about trying to go faster but rather to just get the gold so to get that time was a bonus. I knew I just had to run my race and hope it would all pan out.

``After my runs in Melbourne there was both a sense of relief and satisfaction. Like many of the athletes competing in Melbourne, I wanted to win the gold. I knew it was going to be difficult and I would have been satisfied with a PB.’’

 

A representative rugby union player, previously Clarke has only run at school carnivals leading up to the prestigious GPS Athletics Championships.

``Essentially this is my first year of competitive running, competing in the All Schools Carnivals and running for a club (UTS Norths) on the weekends,’’ Clarke said.

 

Clarke has an experienced coaching network to guide his career, including Nancy Atterton, who coached Miles Murphy to the fastest 400m time on Australian soil, when he ran 44.71 in 1988 and Nancy’s husband John Atterton, who had two athletes on the recent World Juniors team. Their daughter Stacey Quitzau, a teacher at the King’s School, also helps. She was an accomplished athlete winning the 200m, 400m and 800m at the NSW Schools.

 

His times in Melbourne qualified Clarke for the Australian team for the IAAF World Youth (U18) Championships to be held in Lille (France) in July.

``My short term goals are to do well at the upcoming NSW and Australian Youth Championships and hopefully be considered for the Australian World Youth team,’’ he said.

``My long term goals are to keep improving my performances and to continue with my athletics and see where it takes me. Hopefully that might be a Commonwealth or Olympic Games.’’

 

Although he has a few more years at school, Clarke would like to study science, physiotherapy or chiropractic at university, combining this with a career in sport in either athletics or rugby union.

 

 

David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall for Athletics NSW

Image Josh Clarke (courtesy of David Tarbotton)